LDP eyes voter age of over 18 for constitutional referendum

The governing Liberal Democratic Party will try to revise the law on calling a referendum in the event a constitutional amendment is initiated to lower the minimum voting age from 20 to 18, party lawmakers said Tuesday.

The LDP panel on constitutional revision proposed the draft revision to fix the minimum voter age at 20 for four years, and thereafter at 18, to the party's decision-making General Council, and drew no voices of opposition, the lawmakers said. It now intends to submit the draft revision to parliament in mid-February.

The panel headed by House of Representatives member Kosuke Hori initially sought to immediately set the minimum age at 18 and to submit the proposal to the Diet last fall, but altered that plan due to opposition within the ruling party.

The LDP and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party, last month proposed revising the 2007 law on the procedure to be followed to amend the Constitution.

They will seek support from the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Restoration Party for the proposed changes, the lawmakers said.

The postwar Constitution, which came into force in May 1947, stipulates: "Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify."